Myth of the MOA hunting rifle

Sgt H

Beginner
Nov 15, 2018
8
0
Think you have a MOA or half MOA hunting rifle, I will bet that you don't. I am sure that is going to ruffle a lot of feathers but take the following challenge and report back on this thread. Take your favorite hunting rifle, not 16 lb chassis stocked rifle suitable for PRS competition but something actually reasonable to take to the field. Carefully zero at 100yds. Let the barrel cool and put up another target and fire 1 round. Save this target. Over the next several months go to the range 10 times. Put up this same target and fire one round, no checking zero first, changing sight settings ect., your first shot from a cold barrel. No picking perfect days to go to the range, wind/weather wise either. Also try to pick a time of year where the weather varies a bit. Put this rifle up only one shot per range day, bring something else to shoot. You also can not fire all your rounds off the bench with sandbags. Prone over your daypack, prone/sitting w/bipod or any other field position for 5 shots. The other 5 you can use the bench though I have never found one in the hunting fields. No called fliers or other excuses. You can warm up first shooting another rifle if you want. I do not own such a rifle and I will bet few if any actually exist. I would venture that few exist even if all shots were fired from the bench. Putting flame suit on now!
 

joelkdouglas

Handloader
Jun 5, 2011
1,310
0
Right on.

This rifle is a fantastic shooter. Groups well at distance, not too heavy to carry (around 7.5 lbs scoped).

30-06
Leupold 6x42 LRD

Adjustments.jpg

With 155 Custom Competitions and IMR4350 doing a seating depth test.

IMG_1832.jpg

But...for 20 shots with H4350 and 165 ABs it shoots like this.

IMG_1831.jpg

There’s not a shot I wouldn’t take because the rifle wasn’t up to it. Looks like about a 1.5 MOA rifle to me.

Oh well. Pictures won’t line up in order! Not hard to figure out which goes where.
 

djauofd

Beginner
Oct 30, 2017
129
0
Sgt H":cyxp40hr said:
Think you have a MOA or half MOA hunting rifle, I will bet that you don't. I am sure that is going to ruffle a lot of feathers but take the following challenge and report back on this thread. Take your favorite hunting rifle, not 16 lb chassis stocked rifle suitable for PRS competition but something actually reasonable to take to the field. Carefully zero at 100yds. Let the barrel cool and put up another target and fire 1 round. Save this target. Over the next several months go to the range 10 times. Put up this same target and fire one round, no checking zero first, changing sight settings ect., your first shot from a cold barrel. No picking perfect days to go to the range, wind/weather wise either. Also try to pick a time of year where the weather varies a bit. Put this rifle up only one shot per range day, bring something else to shoot. You also can not fire all your rounds off the bench with sandbags. Prone over your daypack, prone/sitting w/bipod or any other field position for 5 shots. The other 5 you can use the bench though I have never found one in the hunting fields. No called fliers or other excuses. You can warm up first shooting another rifle if you want. I do not own such a rifle and I will bet few if any actually exist. I would venture that few exist even if all shots were fired from the bench. Putting flame suit on now!
I’ll say one thing. You have balls.


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358 WCF

Beginner
Jan 31, 2020
149
3
Wait... the challenge is about the shooter, the shooter's technique in field positions under maybe lousy weather conditions. What exactly does this have to do with the accuracy of the rifle?

For an example, my varmint gun (a plain old regular 700 varmint, wood stocked) will likely pass your test if I do my part. It sat in the safe for 25 years, is still zeroed 1-3/4" high @100 yds., & after 2 fouling shots, shot 25 year old ammunition as well as it did when it was first loaded. I always hunt with a fouled barrel.

There are a few other sporters in the safe that average MOA or less if I do my part.

Using your parameters, maybe your myth should be called the "Myth of the MOA hunter"?
 

joelkdouglas

Handloader
Jun 5, 2011
1,310
0
358 WCF":2k06w0vf said:
Wait... the challenge is about the shooter, the shooter's technique in field positions under maybe lousy weather conditions. What exactly does this have to do with the accuracy of the rifle?

For an example, my varmint gun (a plain old regular 700 varmint, wood stocked) will likely pass your test if I do my part. It sat in the safe for 25 years, is still zeroed 1-3/4" high @100 yds., & after 2 fouling shots, shot 25 year old ammunition as well as it did when it was first loaded. I always hunt with a fouled barrel.

There are a few other sporters in the safe that average MOA or less if I do my part.

Using your parameters, maybe your myth should be called the "Myth of the MOA hunter"?
The statement “if I do my part” is what’s in question.

Sure, the shooter is an integral part of the equation.

But even when the shooter does their part very few hunting weight rifles will shoot 1 MOA every shot. Most shots? Maybe. By some dudes definition the rifle I posted above is a 1/2 MOA rifle “when I do my part” because it once shot a sub-1/2 inch, 5-shot group. But shoot 20 shots and all the sudden the group is bigger.

So what changed? Same shooter. Same rifle. Same excellent accuracy when you sample a single 3-shot or 5-shot group.

I bet the next 5-shot group out of the same rifle same day after cooling wouldn’t have been 0.45 inches.

And really when it comes down to it I don’t care if you call your rifle 1/2 MOA, MOA, whatever. No skin off my back.


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fightthenoise

Beginner
Jan 14, 2017
75
0
If you think your rifle is x inches long, you’re wrong. Flip your measuring tape over and you’ll find your rifle is actually y centimeters.

All you’re describing is a different measuring technique. Of course you might get different results but it’s a wildly impractical way to measure a rifle’s accuracy. When a guy says his gun is an MOA gun we know he plopped down at a bench and shot an MOA group. That’s all we care about. It’s a standard assessment of accuracy. Will that group change if you change your measuring protocol? Probably. Do we care? No. Does it matter? No. Will it hunt? Yes.

“I shot an MOA group over the course of 2019” just tells me you have too much time on your hands.
 

Guy Miner

Master Loader
Apr 6, 2006
16,630
1,317
fightthenoise":5lulwsdo said:
If you think your rifle is x inches long, you’re wrong. Flip your measuring tape over and you’ll find your rifle is actually y centimeters.

All you’re describing is a different measuring technique. Of course you might get different results but it’s a wildly impractical way to measure a rifle’s accuracy. When a guy says his gun is an MOA gun we know he plopped down at a bench and shot an MOA group. That’s all we care about. It’s a standard assessment of accuracy. Will that group change if you change your measuring protocol? Probably. Do we care? No. Does it matter? No. Will it hunt? Yes.

“I shot an MOA group over the course of 2019” just tells me you have too much time on your hands.

Excellent. You beat me to it and were much kinder than I would have been. Thank you.

Guy
 

bdbrown66

Handloader
May 16, 2016
713
105
Yeah, anyone who has ever shot competitively knows that they have good days and not-so-good days. Times when your muscles are twitching a bit because you had that extra cup of coffee an hour ago. Days when your eyes are dry and won't focus on the target as well as they normally do. Times when your heart rate is up a little, for whatever reason. And that's even indoors, where weather is not a factor. Now add in changes to temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind...all of which have an impact on the bullet's flight path on the way to the target.

Those are just some of the factors involved in what you are proposing...and not a single one of them has anything to do with the rifle. Not in the least.
 

358 WCF

Beginner
Jan 31, 2020
149
3
joelkdouglas":17xco8qw said:
358 WCF":17xco8qw said:
Wait... the challenge is about the shooter, the shooter's technique in field positions under maybe lousy weather conditions. What exactly does this have to do with the accuracy of the rifle?

For an example, my varmint gun (a plain old regular 700 varmint, wood stocked) will likely pass your test if I do my part. It sat in the safe for 25 years, is still zeroed 1-3/4" high @100 yds., & after 2 fouling shots, shot 25 year old ammunition as well as it did when it was first loaded. I always hunt with a fouled barrel.

There are a few other sporters in the safe that average MOA or less if I do my part.

Using your parameters, maybe your myth should be called the "Myth of the MOA hunter"?
The statement “if I do my part” is what’s in question.

Sure, the shooter is an integral part of the equation.

But even when the shooter does their part very few hunting weight rifles will shoot 1 MOA every shot. Most shots? Maybe. By some dudes definition the rifle I posted above is a 1/2 MOA rifle “when I do my part” because it once shot a sub-1/2 inch, 5-shot group. But shoot 20 shots and all the sudden the group is bigger.

So what changed? Same shooter. Same rifle. Same excellent accuracy when you sample a single 3-shot or 5-shot group.

I bet the next 5-shot group out of the same rifle same day after cooling wouldn’t have been 0.45 inches.

And really when it comes down to it I don’t care if you call your rifle 1/2 MOA, MOA, whatever. No skin off my back.


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Joel. I would hunt with your rifle without question, but from what I see it is not a MOA rifle, or if it is you were not a MOA shooter on that particular day. One 3 or 5 shot 1/2" group means nothing. What's the aggregate group size for your rifle over a period of time & a number of targets? There's a reason that in benchrest for group there's a moving backer behind the target. The guns will honestly shoot one hole... all day long, but sometimes the wind changes just a little, or a gnat flies up your nose as you squeeze the trigger & groups open. The rifle didn't open the group, the shooter did.

2 examples:

I was shooting a problem rifle today & it was averaging 1 1/2 to 2", but one group in the middle of it all was a ragged hole. The wind had picked up a bit. Maybe it steered all three shots into the same hole as a teaser. It's not a one hole rifle. It may never shoot an inch reliably. It gives me something to do.

My groundhog gun will shoot 1/4 to 3/8" 5 shot groups all day, all year long with the components the load was developed with... hot or cold, once the barrel is fouled, but it starts to open up after about 20-25 rounds. So I clean it every 20 & shoot 2 foulers into the dirt & it keeps right on going. I tried a different powder/bullet combination today with newly formed brass & it's a 1/2 to 3/4" gun with what I was feeding it. I guess it's a 3/8" gun until it's not & I am the variable. I'll bet that if I had used the old proven powder/bullet combination in the newly formed brass (same lot as the old) it would be a 3/8" rifle again so long as I dont miss that gust of wind 50 yards down range, whack my knee & skin my elbow getting into an uncomfortable position, or have a Murder Hornet fly up me nose, but I'm still the variable.

The original poster is talking about what a precision mechanical device capable of fine accuracy can & will do, but then complicates the challenge by using field positions in lousy weather at one shot per outing. I'm saying that said device is operated by a fallible human who must be able to steer it repeatedly into the same place depending on conditions.

I guess for any further meaningful discussion MOA rifle needs to be defined by the OP. Is it a gun that once in a while shoots 3 or 5 into an inch, but usually shoots around 2", or is it a gun that will shoot into an inch or better every time as long as it's properly maintained?
 

Thebear_78

Handloader
Sep 30, 2004
2,929
279
I think you mainly were attempting to get a reaction with this post. I think few would agree with your criteria. The shooter is the variable not the rifle. You would have to use some sort of mechanical shooting platform to measure the RIFLE in that scenario.


Good attempt to troll but I don’t think anyone really cares if you think they have a Moa gun. I know I certainly don’t.

For the record I actual like a cold bore test/challenge. I just don’t think it’s an accurate way to test a rifles potential


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salmonchaser

Handloader
Dec 13, 2013
3,445
784
I’m glad I was painting my house the last two days. Problem resolved.


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Sgt H

Beginner
Nov 15, 2018
8
0
Sorry if this post offended anyone, it was not meant to or to troll. Just to illustrate that no rifle, even the best built with the best ammo is immune to external forces. Changes in weather conditions, lighting, shooter induced influences will have an influence on where the group centers on a particular day. These shifts may be very small but they are there. Did not intend to knock anyones MOA or sub MOA rifle. The test I outlined is an extremely severe one and not even match rifles would pass it, I know mine won't. I think it is a pretty good test for your big game rifle to instill confidence that it will put the first shot in the vitals. Just don't to be disappointed with your rifle if you end up with a 2" or so group. That is still a superb and consistent rifle and will put the first round into the vitals of big game out to any reasonable range if you do your part.
 

ShadeTree

Handloader
Mar 6, 2017
2,748
1,144
salmonchaser":3dsovouu said:
I’m glad I was painting my house the last two days. Problem resolved.


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:lol: I spent 10 hrs hoeing and planting garden yesterday. My only problem at the end of the day was realizing I no longer have the back of an 18 yr old.
 

joelkdouglas

Handloader
Jun 5, 2011
1,310
0
Jobs here also. Some chickens to clean after, vegetables to plant. We moved into this house last July and we have done a ton of projects already but I’m not sure they’re ever going to end! Painting isn’t done yet and this week I’m going to get after the loading bench in the garage/shop.

Definitely a good problem though. I’d hate to be stuck in an apartment in an urban area right now.


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Thebear_78

Handloader
Sep 30, 2004
2,929
279
Sgt H":347ty67y said:
Sorry if this post offended anyone, it was not meant to or to troll. Just to illustrate that no rifle, even the best built with the best ammo is immune to external forces.

I’m going to call BS on that line. You knew full and well what you were trying to do. Starting with ruffled feather and ending with your flaming suit. For whatever reason you felt like you had to insinuate that everyone who thinks they have a “moa or better” rifle in fact didn’t.


If offense wasn’t your intention you would have simply recommended everyone try a cold bore one shot challenge. I’ve seen them before and they can be fun.

You wanted to take everyone down a peg, don’t sack out now just because it didn’t work.


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bdbrown66

Handloader
May 16, 2016
713
105
Thebear_78":s80cfucn said:
Sgt H":s80cfucn said:
Sorry if this post offended anyone, it was not meant to or to troll. Just to illustrate that no rifle, even the best built with the best ammo is immune to external forces.

I’m going to call BS on that line. You knew full and well what you were trying to do. Starting with ruffled feather and ending with your glamming suit. For whatever reason you felt like you had to insinuate that everyone who thinks they have a “moa or better” rifle in fact didn’t.


If offense wasn’t your intention you would have simply recommended everyone try a cold bore one shot challenge. I’ve seen them before and they can be fun.

You wanted to take everyone down a peg, don’t sack out now just because it didn’t work.


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Bravo, good sir!!
 

fightthenoise

Beginner
Jan 14, 2017
75
0
Thebear_78":3u541n7b said:
Sgt H":3u541n7b said:
Sorry if this post offended anyone, it was not meant to or to troll. Just to illustrate that no rifle, even the best built with the best ammo is immune to external forces.

I’m going to call BS on that line. You knew full and well what you were trying to do. Starting with ruffled feather and ending with your glamming suit. For whatever reason you felt like you had to insinuate that everyone who thinks they have a “moa or better” rifle in fact didn’t.


If offense wasn’t your intention you would have simply recommended everyone try a cold bore one shot challenge. I’ve seen them before and they can be fun.

You wanted to take everyone down a peg, don’t sack out now just because it didn’t work.


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There seems to be a growing cohort of dudes that can’t stand the fact that other folks have accurate rifles. You used to have to put a lot of work and or money into getting a gun to shoot well but now $700 Tikka’s shoot as well as any custom costing ten times as much, and anyone can grab a box of factory match ammo and it’s probably going to shoot lights out.

Guys can’t stand it, so we get goalpost- moving submissions like OP’s.
 

Nimrod84

Handloader
Feb 20, 2017
376
2
Sgt H is reporting what a lot of snipers have done in the past. The need to keep and maintain log books of how a rifle and the rifleman shoot in all conditions. The test he prescribed is very much valid for log-book creation...

I'm not looking to stir the pot, but I remember a story by a grunt that was trained by Carlos Hathcock. Story is at - https://americanshootingjournal.com/car ... n-a-rifle/. Point of the linked story wasn't about MOA and rifle accuracy, but how we need to understand how the rifle / rifleman system works in all conditions.

I won't comment on Sgt H's intentions, but it was good reminder of Carlos Hathcock.
 
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